Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Dragon and the Unicorn (The Perilous Order of Camelot) by A. A. Attanasio

The Dragon and the Unicorn (The Perilous Order of Camelot)

by A. A. Attanasio

Release Date: 2011-05-29

A dragon’s dreamsong, a hunt for the unicorn’s horn, and the ceaseless wars of angels and demons begin this bold retelling of the Arthurian cycle. Here is magic. And dark romance. Here is Merlin’s most dangerous sorcery: the supernatural love story of Uther Pendragon and Ygrane queen of the Celts.Old as the Big Bang, the demon Lailoken assumes human form in Roman Britain as Celts battle Saxons for mastery. The druid-queen he serves calls him Myrddin and sends him to find her true love—to fulfill an ancient prophecy at the frontier of life and death for her people. Led by a unicorn and hunted by a dragon vast as the planet, Myrddin becomes Merlinus on his quest for the queen’s mate among her remorseless enemies, the Romans. And finally as Merlin, he matches wits with gods and elves to unite Celtic queen and Roman warlord and weave the destiny of the most famous king.In this first volume of Attanasio's Arthurian saga, all the core elements appear: chronicling Vortigern's defeat of the Saxons, the ascendancy of Theodosius Ambrosius (Uther Pendragon), the birth of Arthur and eventually Merlin's lodging the sword in the stone.But in this vibrantly imagined world, the legends of northern Europe acquire their magical perspective from modern physics: Yggdrasil the Storm Tree fills the heavens as the magnetic field of the planet—the gods exist as electrostatic beings—and Merlin uses his humanity to disguise his true identity as a 'demon,' a hyperspatial mind created spontaneously out of chaos and known among thermodynamic theorists as a Boltzmann Brain. All of these marvels of science embedded in the twilight of Roman Britain, when the first Christian kingdoms of Albion fought for survival against ferocious pagan invaders.An encounter with a unicorn, an interplanetary being of light, brings Lailoken to Ygrane, queen of the Celts, and she sets him a task to find her king, a man seen in vision and fated for her true love. Merlinus-Lailoken seeks and finds him: Theodosius, a stable worker. But Ygrane has commanded the demon-wizard to bring her a king—so Merlinus sets to work making one.“By far the most lyrically written of the recent Arthurian books. … Fresh and engaging.” (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)“Combines the round table and black holes, gods and parallel universes, to produce a world full of both mythology and history, reworking familiar elements in new ways. Rich thematically as well, the story presents inevitable cycles of pain, death, learning and redemption as Ygrane, Uther, Morgeu the Fey, and Merlin … fight for the soul of their land.” (Publishers Weekly)“Attanasio mixes Arthurian lore with Norse gods, modern physics and sundry faerie creatures in this literary, passionate novel. There has been nothing else quite like it.” (The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror)“An unconventional new version of the Camelot story … original!” (Kirkus Reviews)



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